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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,072
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Member Since: Sun Dec 21, 2008
Posts: 2,266
Subj: Re: Another late entry - and a postscript re. the Idiot Plot
Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 at 04:15:18 pm EDT (Viewed 112 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Another late entry...
Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 at 12:05:53 pm EDT (Viewed 127 times)

    For me the rot in the X titles began with the Mutant Massacre storyline. Once we got half the group running around Australia with Dazzler, the books took a turn I didn't like and didn't regain my interest at all until Alan Davis starting writing the title in 1998 or so. There's a whole ten year period of X-titles that just means nothing to me.

Well, it was a gradual process. The Mutant Massacre in itself wasn't a bad idea, what with about half the team being incapacitated etc. it was a really scary time. And some of the other storylines that followed were good or at least acceptable.
What annoyed me at the time was that things were steered that way that the X-Men and X-Factor always were "coincidentally" kept from meeting each other and, you know, hashing their differences out, because it was painfully obvious that once the two teams started speaking to each other there would be no reason for X-Factor to exist as a separate team any longer or for them to continue the idiotic "mutant hunter" charade. And these continual failures to meet became a bit ridiculous because not only were the two teams' bases extremely close to each other (the X-Men in Westchester, X-Factor in Manhattan), but around the time of the Massacre the two teams operated in pretty much the same neighborhoods in New York. The X-Men then briefly moved to San Francisco - a period I actually enjoyed, as it showed them being accepted fairly well by the locals - but then of course came the Fall of the Mutants and the Outback Era, which I did not enjoy as much as the arcs before, not least because during that time the X-Men pretty much completely isolated themselves from the world.

    I thought that giving the original five their own title was a good idea for a book, but it was handled atrociously from the start. I hated all the Scott and Jean misdirection, wasn't really into the art until Walt came aboard, and I hated the idea of the five pretending to be mutant hunters.

The Simonsons did a lot to improve things in the X-Factor title, but even they could not undo the crappiness of the original conception and execution of that series.


Although I didn't know the expression at the time, one of the things that bothered me most about original X-Factor was that it is a classic example of what James Blish referred to as the Idiot Plot: a plot that can only work because pretty much everybody (except the evil "mastermind") is a complete idiot. But since this a superhero story, the Original 5 being idiots wasn't enough, the plot also required for instance that Jean Grey for some reason found herself unable to use her telepathy, except for that scene in FF #286 where it suddenly - and conveniently - reappears for a while, only for it to fade out again - again conveniently - before Jean can find out about Rachel. It also was a bit convenient for the plot that Jean's parents were on vacation, apparently without leaving a forwarding address, but then the Idiot Plot kicked in again, with none of the X-Factorites e.g. hitting on the bloody obvious idea of contacting Jean's sister, even if just to ask them where the Greys were. And then there was the way the X-Factorites were totally paranoid that they did not even want to hear what their teammates on the active X-Men team had to say for themselves and even dismissed Professor Xavier's endorsement of the reformed Magneto (which Scott knew about from UXM #199-200) out of hand, and yet they blindly trusted Cameron Hodge, a smarmy git whose eventual revelation as a villain probably surprised not a single reader, and whom none of them, except Warren, had ever met before. It still boggles my mind just how badly it was written...


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